Kenny Garrett-]|[- SEEDS FROM THE UNDERGROUND –MP3– [Mack Avenue, 2012 | Review]
“And the ‘seeds’ have been planted, directly or indirectly, by people who have been instrumental in my development.” –Kenny Garrett
It’s time for jazz aficionados to celebrate because monster saxophonist, composer and arranger Kenny Garrett returns with highly anticipated album on Mack Avenue titled “SEEDS FROM THE UNDERGROUND” co-produced by pianist, composer and educator, Donald Brown will be stored in the racks in a record store near you tomorrow.
Like you I was enthralled by the mere thought Kenny was coming out with some fresh music on his first studio recording that he’s released in years. According to the quote at the beginning, it appears to me Garrett held in his heart the seeds, love and passion that were sown in his life in return he decided to sow a fresh crop of great music in homage to the people that he holds with high esteem.
“SEEDS FROM THE UNDERGROUND” features a cast of supreme players tailor made for this project including: drummer and Detroit native Ronald Bruner, Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez, he also summoned Virginia born bassist Nat Reeves, along with percussionist and bata player Rudy Bird and the gifted songbird Nedelka Prescod on vocals.
With this project Garrett reminds us that he is a pillar among a multitude of jazz giants that laid the foundation for him (others) yet today his sound is innate, powerful, and influential … certainly one to behold in this generation of musicians. He opens with the intransigent groove of “Boogety Boogety,” amplifies to invigorate his childhood memories of watching Westerns on TV there is no doubt his signature engraved onto this gem.
If you’ve seen Garrett live, you can envision his robust style, puissance and inexhaustible approach to jazz is absolutely mesmerizing. The explosive “J-Mac” is a tribute to sax giant Jackie McLean that captures the heart, soul and fire of Garrett’s singular voice as a player and composer.
As a bandleader Kenny never drifts far from his soul purpose of playing music, as always he delivers with irregular rhythmic and organic beats on a tune titled “Wiggins” dedicated to his mentor and high school band director Bill Wiggins. Garrett’s mid-tempo jams inhabit a wealth of immeasurable substance exposed on “Haynes Here,” this jewel showcases the pulse, energy and dynamics of Ronald Bruner tenacious drumming skills is dedicated to the legacy of Roy Haynes.
Up next, Garrett pays homage to his native city “Detroit.” At first glance, the scratching sound of vinyl caught me off guard. Immediately, I reflected on the glory days of listening to jazz in an intimate gathering of friends and sometimes strangers we lovingly embraced while in communion the warm, vibrant and seductive sounds of jazz on wax. Vocalist Nedelka Prescod articulates the shadings of the song with unspoken words accents the underlying emotional value of this inspiring piece.
If you’ve notice title tracks can be misleading, not so in this case, the quintessential voice and artistry of Kenny Garrett continues to amaze novice, modernist and purist alike. “Seeds from the Underground” exhibits the essential qualities, layers and gravity necessary to draw you into the core of what he’s more than capable of accomplishing. Pianist Benito Gonzalez leads and later joined by the rest of the ensemble explores the simplicity of wrapping their collective voices around the beginning of the song to build a provocative and excitable sound in concert with one another is event Garrett is still on point and never blunders or backslides on any given opportunity to jam.
The ensemble changes hats compositionally to demonstrate they haven’t forgotten the key elements of bop with a sweet ditty titled “Du-Wo-Mo.” For those who aren’t acquainted with Garrett’s sound and composition style he aptly serves up colorful and cohesive theme embedded with nuggets of bop-ology and exalts them with a comprehensive and fructiferous sound.
African influenced songs like “Welcome Earth Song” is always a core component in Garrett’s arsenal of recordings. I’m elated with idea of nurturing your passion, love and heritage through the vessel of music when we’re living in a time of unrest, hatred and political division this song is quite fitting and reminds me of the “Black Jazz Movement” of the late sixties. With each note this sound resonates in the heart, spirit and soul of those who appreciate diversity in music and community equally.
The handsomely stated “Ballad Jarrett” (tribute to Keith Jarrett) renders the relaxed side of Garrett’s visionary, complex and spirited compositional palate. The potent “Laviso, I Bon” winds down this belated and extensive collection of extraordinary songs by an exceptional voice in jazz Kenny Garrett. If you love jazz, then don’t dare miss the opportunity to delve into and embrace this amazing, challenging and electrifying masterpiece adorned with a wealth of fruitful abundance of enjoyable music painted, configured and engineered on the palette of “Seeds from the Underground.” –Highly Recommended by Rob Young | Urban Flux Media | Album Review